It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. -Mother Teresa

Monday, September 9, 2013

Book: Biography of Dorothy L. Sayers

Never heard of Dorothy L. Sayers? I hadn't either until I started researching classical education. She wrote an essay titled "The Lost Tools of Learning", which is highly regarded within the Classical community.

I knew nothing about this author who is referenced often so I looked for her on our interlibrary loan system. I came across a biography titled Such a Strange Lady A biography of Dorothy L. Sayers by Janet Hitchman.

I have to admit that I totally did not enjoy this book and ended up skimming a few chapters rather than reading them. First of all, the author shares in a very uncomfortable way...sometimes she writes like she is taking to you even making jokes. Other times, she is writing like a formal college essay. I really wondered if this was her thesis for school and she just so happened to get it publicly published. In addition, sometimes she writes as if this book is for 8th graders while sometimes going into subject matter and depth of understanding of life and world events that is not suitable for that age. Finally, the book was written almost 40 years ago and in the authors informal writing, many of the references and even jokes she makes are lost on me.

Probably the least enjoyable thing about the book is how much she analyzed Sayers novels. She quoted from them extensively. I have never read any of the novels and didn't even know she was a fiction author. Even more boring (in my personal opinion) was coverage she gave to Sayers plays, pamphlets, and BBC radio work. The "Lost Tools of Learning" was originally a pamphlet, which was a common form of publishing in Sayers time, and is completely unmentioned in this book.

Dorothy L. Sayers (don't you forget the L!) was quirky and not at all how you expect artistic people to behave. I would say she behaved very much like a modern celebrity: shocking style, lesbianism, illegitimate children, romances with unsuitable people, travel, and complaining about the press.

The parts that most interested me were her education and later her educating others. Other than that, this book was....stinky...boring...I don't even have a single word to describe it. I read almost all of it so I can't say terrible or I would have put it down.

Will I read more of Dorothy L. Sayers actual works? I doubt it. She mainly wrote mysteries and that isn't something I enjoy. She did translate Dante and create a reading guide for it. I probably will check out that at some point.

Should you read it? Well, I can't imagine you would after reading my thoughts. I would stick with the essay that brought her to my attention in the first place.

You can read her essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, online for free HERE.

1 comment:

  1. I am sooooo glad you posted about this! I read some disheartening information at the end of spring about Dorothy L. Sayers, but didn't bring it up because I knew how "beloved" she was in the CC community. Glad I'm not alone now! LOL!